There are few certainties in life.
Death. Taxes. And Dorian Finney-Smith corner threes.
When Finney-Smith entered the league six years ago, the Dallas
Mavericks wing was told that the corner three is the easiest shot
in the NBA and that he’d “make a lot of money" if he could knock it
“I was already playing into the corner my rookie year, and once I
realized how many corner threes I was going to get, I just worked
on it,” Finney-Smith told BasketballNews.com in a one-on-one
He laughs, as if he's just now realizing that it has become his
trademark shot. Then, he shouts out the former teammate who helped
his corner three become so deadly.
“Wesley Matthews was a good vet for me. He was always telling me
that I needed to get that (corner three) shot down pat if I wanted
to be on the court," Finney-Smith said. "And I did!"
He would spend the next few years focused, head down, determined
to prove he belonged in the league. He developed into a reliable
shooter and perfected the corner three, just as Matthews
This season, Finney-Smith shot 46.1% on corner threes — a huge
improvement from his rookie year, when he shot just 26.3% from that
spot. During the 2022 NBA Playoffs, he's been even better, knocking
down 52.5% of his corner threes.
“I had the confidence that I could shoot. I shot the ball well
in college, it just ain’t translated the first couple of years in
the NBA,” Finney-Smith said.
He knew there was only one way to get his shot back: stay in the
gym and work.
“Repetition builds confidence," Finney-Smith explained. "Also, I
think my teammates seeing how hard I worked, it also built
confidence in them. The ones who have been here with me throughout
this journey — like Maxi [Kleber], Dwight [Powell], Luka [Doncic] —
I think they see the work I put in and that also gives them
confidence to give the ball to me in late-game situations.
“Guys see the work you put in; they can tell if you've been in
the gym or if you been BSing, and I built confidence with those
guys, especially Luka, to pass me the ball in those clutch
situations. They have trust in me, even when I miss it.”
Finney-Smith also earned the trust of Dallas' front office.
After playing his best basketball and helping the Mavs win a lot of
games (in the regular season and now in the playoffs), Finney-Smith
is getting the recognition he deserves. The undrafted baller from
Portsmouth, Virginia, was also rewarded with the biggest payday of
In early February — six years after signing a non-guaranteed
contract with the Mavs — Doe-Doe (as he is affectionately called)
signed a four-year contract extension worth a reported $55 million.
After earning $4,000,000 this season, he'll reportedly be paid
$12,402,000 next year.
He has played his way into a starting role and into the hearts
of MFFL’s, becoming one of the fan favorites. Finney-Smith has
established himself as an integral piece of the Mavs' future after
averaging a career-high 11.0 points along with 4.7 rebounds, 2.2
threes, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals (while shooting 47.1% from the
field and 39.5% from three-point range).
During the postseason, he has elevated his game to a higher
level. In Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the
Phoenix Suns, Finney-Smith finished with a playoff-career-best 24
points (on 8-12 shooting from three) and 8 rebounds. He became just
the third player in Dallas' franchise history to make at least 8
three-pointers in game, joining Maxi Kleber (8 threes against the
Utah Jazz on April 18, 2022) and Jason Terry (9 threes against the
Los Angeles Lakers on May 8, 2011 — exactly 11 years to the
On Tuesday night, with the Mavs down 0-3 to the Golden State
Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, he helped lead Dallas to
victory with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 threes and 2 assists while
shooting 69.2% from the field and 57.1% from three.
The underrated 3-and-D specialist opened up to
BasketballNews.com about this Mavs team, his happy place, his
experience going undrafted, what talent he wishes he had and much
In your own words, how did the Mavs get here — to the
Western Conference Finals?
Dorian Finney-Smith: "Just by staying together.
Early in the year, we weren’t shooting the ball as well as we
wanted to. I feel like we just stuck with it. We didn’t blame
nobody else; we looked inward and we took accountability as a team.
And shout out to the coaches: J-Kidd, he did a good job of making
us hold each other accountable. All those close games that we were
in the last couple of years, I feel like this year we made that
step — finishing the game the right way."
After going undrafted, what allowed you to keep going
mentally? And who's been in your corner?
Finney-Smith: "I have a big family. [The answer
is] them. My kid’s mom (Jasmine).
"I always felt like when I first made the team, I just wanted to
get on the court. And once I got on the court, I just wanted to
make sure I showed everyone I belonged. Once I started playing on
the regular, I just always wanted my presence to be felt, even if I
was making or missing shots."
Did you ever think that playing in the NBA wasn’t going
to happen for you? Did you ever get down on yourself?
Finney-Smith: "Nah. Nah. Hell nah. I never got
down. I was a little mad I didn't get what I wanted on my first
deal. I played a whole lot, then I started… just me being… At
times, it was a little frustrating just because I’m human."
Who are you closest to on the team?
Finney-Smith: "Trey Burke, Reggie [Bullock].
Actually, we all pretty much hang out together. We are a close-knit
team; even Luka comes and kicks it with us. This is probably the
closest Mavs team I've been on. When I first got here, I had an
older team: Devin Harris, JJ [Barea], Dirk [Nowitzki]."
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Finney-Smith: "Quiet. Or with the kids playing
around. When I am not on the court, I am quiet."
What living person do you admire most?
Finney-Smith: "My mom because of her
resiliency, and how she never let what she was going through
What talent would you most like to have?
Finney-Smith: "I wish I could sing. If I could
sing, I probably… woo… I would sing all the time. I would
sing myself out of trouble. (laughs)"
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would
Finney-Smith: "I don’t know. God gave me
everything I got for a reason, so nothing."
What drives you? What’s your motivation?
Finney-Smith: "I would say fear of failure.
Coming from where I came from, a small city, I always grew up
around a whole bunch of 'I used to be' or 'what I could have done'
stuff like that, so I am just trying to make the most of my
opportunity because I know a lot of people may never get this
opportunity or the chance to even get this opportunity."
Who is your favorite WNBA team and player?
Finney-Smith: "The (Dallas) Wings. Elizabeth
Williams (of the Washington Mystics) is my favorite player. She is
from Virgina; we both came out together in high school. She’s a
Who or what is the greatest love(s) of your
Finney-Smith: "My kids or my mom."
If you died and could come back as anything or anyone,
what would it be and why?
Finney-Smith: "A lion. 'Lion King' is my
favorite movie, and I love lions."
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out Dorothy J. Gentry's exclusive
interview with Dallas Mavericks wing Reggie Bullock as